REV. ALAN BAUGHCUM

REV. ALAN BAUGHCUM

Modern readers are sometimes troubled about the many Biblical passages in which Jesus and others heal the sick and cast out unclean spirits and demons.

Today the Enlightenment has drawn a sharp dividing line between the natural and the supernatural, a line that Jesus and his disciples crossed in their healing. Yet surely their healing of relationships and restoration of the dispossessed to their rightful status and dignity is exactly what the world needs today. (See, for example Mark 5, Matthew 8-9.)

The power to heal comes from God (Isaiah 40). Moreover Isaiah 41 is clear that only God truly has power, even power over and among the nations. Still nations continue to strive for power over one another.

Earlier this year the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Israel was a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut.” He seemed to look forward to a war that would discredit the West and promote the hegemony of Iran. Iran is seeking power that comes from and belongs only to God.

The New York Times has reported that Israel is moving closer to a decision to attack Iran. U. S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that he believes there is a “ strong likelihood” that Israel will strike Iran’s nuclear program sometime in April, May or June of this year. Yet this exercise of military power may well be unsuccessful or only temporary in its effects. The consequences of such action cannot be well predicted in any case. Israel is seeking the peace and security that can only come from God.

Time is short. Even as we proclaim God’s love and God’s healing in our houses of worship and in our community, we need also to work on healing and peace among the nations. Write letters to your representatives in Congress. Make your views known in letters to your representatives in Congress, and on blogs and in other social media. Consider carefully your vote in our upcoming national election. Consider who, if anyone, you might support in the presidential campaign.

I don’t have all the answers. But I do know what our work is. It is the work of Jesus, so long ago, to go among the people proclaiming that God loves us. We need not strive for power we cannot attain in any case. As our Savior did, we should forswear power in favor of healing and service: Though Christ was in the form of God, he did not regard his status as something to be exploited, but emptied himself and took on the form of a slave (Philippians 2:6-7).

Christians believe that Jesus did not give up being God in becoming a servant to humanity but revealed who God truly is by emptying himself in love. God’s strength and power is revealed in Jesus’ seeming weakness. That apparent weakness is a true reflection of God’s politics.

The Rev. Alan Baughcum is pastor of Day’s Ferry Congregational Church in Woolwich.

Clergy Column: Local clergy wishing to write should contact Lois Hart at [email protected] Lay ministers as well as ordained clergy may contribute.

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